The answer is YES.

Proper evaluation of the dental implant with baseline information that includes probing, is necessary when making a determination of health or disease. This subject was controversial years ago - however, current research supports it as beneficial.

dental implants

The consensus report of the sixth European workshop on periodontology indicated the following data collection for the evaluation of peri-implant diseases.1

  • Bleeding on probing
  • Suppuration
  • Probing depth
  • Radiographic bone loss
  • Implant mobility

Probing around dental implants

There is an increased number of dental implants being placed, as well as reported cases of peri-implant diseases (mucositis 50 percent of the dental implants in function and peri-implantitis is 12 to 43 percent) making the surveillance critical. When assessing a dental implant, understanding the differences between the soft tissue surrounding teeth and the soft tissue surrounding dental implants are paramount. Dental implants have a weaker hemidesmosomal attachment. This makes probing around implants more sensitive than teeth. Gentle pressure should be used; the safest pressure to probe is 20 g.

A metal or plastic probe may be used; however, many clinicians would agree that having a flexible probe is helpful when trying to navigate around the height of contour of a dental implant restoration Flexibility is desirable, particularly with varied prosthetic designs: narrow dental implants and platform-switching dental implants. Additionally, a plastic probe may reduce the potential trauma to the perimucosal seal.

When probing dental implants, it is important to note the depth is not as meaningful (as it is with natural teeth), as the sulcus around implants is created surgically rather than from development. Whenever longer implant abutments are used, greater probing depths will naturally correspond. Probing at maintenance visits will give you a comparison of changes.

The only time to avoid probing is during the initial healing and integration phase. The recommended time period may vary between surgeons, but it typically ranges from three to six months. If the dental implant has been restored, it is presumed integrated and therefore safe to probe.

References

  1. J Clin Periodontol. 2008 Sep;35(8 Suppl):282-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-051X.2008.01283.x. Peri-implant diseases: Consensus Report of the Sixth European Workshop on Periodontology. Lindhe J1, Meyle J; Group D of European Workshop on Periodontology.

Comments

Touradj
September 12th, 2014
Absolutely no reason to probe around implant for many reasons; two most important: no additional information can be gained... also your abutment platform amy have wider topography at cervical area then implant diameter which in those cases you will be causing mechanical insult to tissue. You have better way to diagnose periimplantitis as it has been discussed.
Andrew Dow
September 23rd, 2014
The article mentioned that the implant probing depth is directly related to the abutment length. I am very used to seeing 5mm and 6mm probing depths around implants. Is there a depth where pocket reduction surgery is recommended even in the absence of bleeding or suppuration?
Perio
January 16th, 2015
@touradj hopefully represents a minority of cavaliers in the implant community. Notions as the one reported have definitely contributed to the extremely high prevalence numbers that we see reported for peri-implantitis. Obviously Pas not always tell the story, because many times peri-implant defects are located in the buccal/lingual areas of implants. Recording of the baseline PD (after 3 months post-placement of the final restoration) is crucial to identify meaningful changes in PD and arrest peri-implantitis at its early stage. regards to touradj's posting: 1."no additional information can be gained" (additional to what? really? ignorance is bad) 2. "also your abutment platform amy have wider topography at cervical area then implant diameter which in those cases you will be causing mechanical insult to tissue." (if the angulation of the probe has to exceed 30 degrees due to over contoured crowns PD measurements may overestimate the actual PD. However a baseline measurement serves as internal calibration to overcome this issue).
Jillian Patrycy
March 13th, 2015
This is very helpful. I'm a dental hygienist for a Prosthodontics practice for 8 years. I have always probed implants, very gently of course. However, I have sometimes questioned whether I am doing the right thing or causing harm. Thanks, this makes me feel more at ease when doing my assessment!
Shawn S.
December 21st, 2017
Thankyou Gregg for an informative update.